My staff had arranged for our team to spend the morning at the children’s ward at a local hospital today, to celebrate the birthdays of 2 kids stricken with cancer. We had brought with us colored paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils and other necessary paraphernalia needed to teach the children simple crafts like making Chinese New Year decorative lanterns and firecrackers.
I was really excited about the opportunity to interact with the kids albeit slightly intimidated. Up to now, in spite of my younger days as a volunteer at the charity homes for the elderly or mentally disadvantaged, I have never had the opportunity to interact with kids in this capacity. Moreover, now that Joel is much older, I had forgotten how to interact with younger kids apart from the fact that I had to shove my iphone in the hands of my colleague’s daughter one Saturday morning because I had forced the rather reluctant mother to be the “cover girl” at the photo shoot for my advertising campaign. At that moment, I thanked the universe for giving us Barney the dinosaur on YouTube, and helping me to remember the lyrics to that Barney tune. I’d never forget that weekend because I dreamt of Barney for 2 consecutive nights and was traumatized enough to stay at home, far away from the kids laughing and playing at the playground below my block of flats.
Touched By A Child
At the ward, I had the privilege to meet little V and her mum. V is 14 months old and had never quite seen the outside of her home apart from the journey to and from the hospital for her cancer treatment. V’s eyes were so big and bright, like limpid pools and her cheeks were so chubby you’d want to pinch them too. She was so chatty as a child, and gesticulated animatedly when she wanted something. Nothing about V betrayed the fact that she had cancer ravaging her little body and was subjected to painful treatments that no one outside of her family could ever imagine.
While coloring a picture of Hello Kitty for V, I had a chance to speak to her mum who was such a strong and cheerful lady. She spoke about V with pride, telling me how clever she was, what her favorite food was (chocolate), what her favorite fruit was (dragon fruit) and describing V’s mischievous antics. I could sense a mother’s anguish and loneliness within her in spite of her broad smile and occasional laughter. It suddenly dawned on me that as a volunteer, I was also holding the hand of this lonely mother who perhaps needed the comfort and listening ear of a friend. It was not just all about the patient, V.
Spending the morning with V and her mum was perhaps a little slap I needed to remind myself that I should be grateful for a healthy family. With my attention constantly focused on work and other commitments, I had taken that for granted for far too long. I suffered a breast cancer scare a few months ago, and while that experience was a hard kick in my shins to remind me to live life for the moment, that somehow didn’t last. Shortly after, I was back to my old self of juggling multiple commitments, whilst barking at the husband and the boy for not pushing themselves harder to get more business, study harder, earn more, learn more and do more. I was driving us to do everything more, apart from, to live more.
I forgot to smell the roses again.
Learning To Count My Blessings
Meeting V was an absolute delight for me. She was such a lively child and I was enamored by her giggles and her generally happy disposition. How could a baby stricken with cancer, tormented by painful treatments and haunted by the prospect of a possibly limited future be so happy?
I am so grateful for the time spent with her. She taught me to count my blessings. Amongst them are my family, my friends, my team at work, my job which I love, my passion for Tarot, my clients…..I am so grateful for them.
Below is a photo of me with my looney team at the Children's ward at the National University Hospital. Thank you Children's Cancer Foundation for the opportunity we had to play with the children.
About the writer:
The writer of this blog post is a 43 year old mother of one, who spreads her time between her day job as a marketeer at a financial institution, her hobby as a certified professional tarot reader and numerologist, and her family which includes a 19 year old son. She's married to a Scot who has been affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" and prays that he does not find out that the term when translated, has labeled him as a "Ginger Head".